Tips and Advice

Selling products online – creative retail tips for 2021

It’s no secret that selling products online is a must in 2021. But as a small business, where should you be focusing your energy? We recently chatted with a handful of our customers about the importance of e-commerce. From bakeries to gifting brands, we covered all things start-up, packaging, social media and more.

Read on for a dose of inspiration from amazing brands who are thriving online!

The Bargello Edit

Selling products online

 

The Bargello Edit are a newly launched shop offering sewing pattern kits and online workshops. From planters to mini wall hangings – owner Nerrisa had this to say about selling products online: 

E-commerce is everything to my business. From investing in my photography, to ‘showing up’ regularly on social media, having a successful shop is all about replicating the real-life shopping experience as much as you can.

As an online shopper myself, I really value the packages from brands that pay attention to the little details. I’ve tried my best to replicate them in my own brand. From using Branded Stickers to secure my tissue paper wrapping to my product care instructions that are regularly complimented for their ‘premium quality’ (thanks Fresco Gesso!) I love finding inventive new ways to design and share kits with my customers and using print to bring the brand to life. “

When it comes to getting noticed online, you must always be authentic. I laugh regularly at my own puns when I’m finishing an order with a hand-signed Postcard and I think that enjoying my brand helps others to do the same.”

Luna & The Lion

selling products online

When it comes to delicious treats in the post, look no further than Luna and the Lion. Founder Rachel has this to share about her online journey so far:

“Having an online presence adds huge creditability and trust for potential customers. Being able to browse in your own time an online shop and ponder those all-important purchase decisions (mini egg cookies or kinder cookies!?).

Our Foiled Stickers are a key component of our packaged branding. We opted for a toned-down kraft box feel with plain and coloured shredded tissue paper to protect our cookies. Our Stickers really add the wow-factor and a nice unboxing experience for our customers. Alongside a flavour card (which we hand write and add to each order) it feels really personal.

 “Success online is all about just being yourself – a little bit of humanity needs to come through with all small businesses. It’s a huge community and that’s part of what attracts people to shopping small or locally.”

Sew Sophie Crafts

Sew Sophie Crafts is the go-to small business for anyone who has recently discovered their love of cross-stitch. Sophie, who heads up the business, had this to say about the e-commerce packaging that accompanies her project kits:

“Since setting up my business in 2019, e-commerce has been essential to its success. Craft fairs are great to get your brand seen locally, however, I find selling online far more effective because it allows me to get my product in front of the right audience. 

I love receiving pretty packaging when I order online, so I wanted to share that within my parcels too. Logo Stickers are probably my most used item. I use them to seal my paper bags because they are simple but really effective in keeping my packaging on-brand. I also use Postcards with holes punched into the top as a thread holder for my cross stitch kits. They are really useful for organising threads and also look fun!

Social media is really effective for marketing my business. I use Instagram more than other platforms and from there encourage people to visit my Etsy store or website. My advice would be to show off your ‘behind the scenes’ and let your audience get to know you as the maker. People buy from people after all!”

Bert & Co

selling online

 

Devon-based Greeting Card designer Bert & Co is a seasoned Etsy Seller, and also has her designs featured on platforms such as Thortful. Owner Gemma had this to say about selling products online:

“Starting my business online gave me the opportunity to build a strong presence on Instagram and really learn how sites like Etsy work. It was a huge learning curve with lots of trial and error, however, it’s given me a great starting point for the future plans of the business. 

I have to use fairly boring board-backed Envelopes (to keep cards protected in the mail) so I tend to add Branded Stickers with my logo on to jazz it up a bit and increase brand awareness. I also use colourful Stickers to seal the Envelopes. As well as Stickers, I also pop a small Thank You Card with a discount code in with each order.

As a small business, brand loyalty and repeat custom is so important. It’s also important to try and do our bit for the environment, so I use Compostable Cellophane Bags to keep Greeting Cards protected without the use of plastic. They are 100% biodegradable and fully compostable. For anyone new to selling online, I would recommend experimenting with a bit of paid advertising on Instagram and Etsy. This is especially useful around key calendar dates as this really helps increase sales. Clear, bright photos are also key, so be sure to edit your photos and don’t be afraid to really brighten them up to catch people’s attention.”

Flourish & Rye

selling products online

Artisan hamper business Flourish and Rye have really whet our appetite with their delicious selection of seasonal goodies. Founders Jess and Sarah started up in 2020 and had this to say about their journey so far:

“As we started Flourish and Rye while in the global pandemic (just in case no-one knew that was happening) getting our brand out online has been huge for us. But it hasn’t come without its challenges! Building a social following is something we are still doing but in such a saturated market you really have to be true to yourself, believe in your product and keep your online presence as exciting as possible.

Our branded print spans tapes, Menus, Thank You Cards and Stickers. Our favourite piece has to be our Menu Cards. They feature hand-drawn illustrations by Sarah which we use in all our seasonal hampers. We also love our Note Cards (but seriously who doesn’t love ordering online and receiving a handwritten note from the business?). We think it makes your branding just that little bit more special. 

Social media has really helped us. We showcase our branding with really natural, unstated photos and remain open and honest across our stories. We also started a blog over too to talk about the ups and downs of our business. You’ll soon realise a lot of people are in the same boat as you. Be true to who you are!” 

When Skies are Grey

selling your products online

 

Stationery business When Skies are Grey works hard to keep her packaging inviting. Her 100% eco-friendly brand relies heavily on online selling, and  owner Maggie shared some of her expertise with us:

“E-commerce has always been my number one stream for sales, even more so during lockdown. People are buying from the comfort of their own home more than ever, and they love to see the face behind the business. Utilising tools such as Instagram is so important for projecting my brand voice and being able to translate this into my packaging.

My favourite packaging tool is my multipurpose Business/Thank You Cards. These are made on beautifully Recycled card stock to fit my eco promise and features my own handwriting and brand colours. I like to leave space in my Business Card designs so that I can handwrite customer names. I always think it’s nice to receive something personalised!

When it comes to promoting your small business, it’s really important to show the face behind the brand. People love to know who they’re buying from, so uploading talking selfie stories (as daunting as it is), making reels or sharing some of your business and personal milestones helps your audience to empathise with you and learn your story.”

Lauren Radley Design

 

When it come to vibrant e-commerce print, look no further than illustrator Lauren Radley Design. The quality of her Greeting Cards, Art Prints and gifts speak for themselves, but how does she keep her customers engaged? Read on to find out

“Over 50% of our business is through online sales, so to us e-commerce is everything. A large proportion of these sales are generated through our social media platforms, word of mouth, or our followers sharing products to their own social feeds and stories. Over the past few years, the increase of Instagram Stories and people sharing unboxing experiences has massively increased our online sales. So having beautiful packaging as well as products is important to add to that ‘share-ability’ factor.

I love an eye-catching Business Card and have a collection of them on a pinboard in my studio. Having beautifully designed Postcards and Business Cards to go in every order is very important to us. There will hopefully be people (like myself) out there who save them and put them somewhere they can see them daily. So not only is it nice to give the customer an extra special something, but it also acts as a little reminder of our business.”

For other small businesses selling products online, I would say just be yourself. It can be so easy to get distracted by what other people are doing, but it is vital that you stay focused on that in order to stand out. Only you can design in the way that you design.”

Soul Blossom Co.

Luxury home fragrance brand Soul Blossom Co. sell hand-poured candles, wax melts, diffusers and more! When it comes to selling products online, owner Rachel relies on her packaging print it for both product and postage. She had this to share: 

“E-commerce is extremely important to my small business, especially with the current lockdown restrictions. I would usually take part in monthly craft fairs, which was great for sales and helping my brand be recognised in the local area. However unfortunately these have been postponed until restrictions lift. Due to this, I now highly depend on my website and social media accounts to drive sales. It has enabled my business to grow and it is easily accessible to the general public. I’m proud to say my products can be found all over the UK.

When it comes to packaging, it is very important to me to give my customers a lovely gifting experience. I want every parcel to feel luxurious and special, and not only from the products I make but also the branded material I have printed. While I use Branded Stickers in various sizes and colours, my favourite product is the product care card I include in every order. I feel it gives the perfect personal touch.

My top tip for getting noticed online is to use all the tools available to you. There are plenty of free platforms like Instagram and Facebook”.

Well, we don’t know about you, but we’re about ready to start selling products online, with a little help from these amazing small businesses. If you’ve been inspired make sure to check out our full Retail Collection at the link below.

Shop the Retail Collection

About the author

Bex is our Creative Content Manager and lover of all things community. When she's not glued to her phone you can find her out cycling in the Chiltern Hills or braving the London commute on her Brompton.

Share this on social

DISCUSSION

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *